Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To a very special man

Happy Wednesday! I hope your week is going well. 

I have realized that I havent once talked about my grandparents on the blog. I've mentioned them but have not "introduced" you to them. The post today, however, will focus on one in particular. My dad's father

His name was Leo and he was an amazing man. Lets face it, none of us can wish for what type of grandparent we went since we arent even born. Him, though? I look back at all the times I spent with him and can honestly say that if I was able to wish, I would wish for him. He was strong, courageous, very knowledgeable, put up a fight when he needed to, always had a positive attitude, and he loved life. He was in the Korean war also. His life was revolved around his kids and us grand kids and made sure every last one of us was taken care of before he pleased himself

Him and I had a very special bond. My mom's dad died many years before I was born so this grandfather was basically the only one I had. It might sound mean but he was the one I'd ever known. My mom's a nurse and worked 3-11 like she does now. He, my grandmother and my great aunt were my babysitters. They'd come over in the afternoons and stay until my dad got home from work. They'd cook dinner and would clean the house and just take care of me. They were wonderful. And by being able to spend 3 days a week with them, we got to do many fun things and share moments that many others probably dont get to share. He taught me many things:

1) the soup dispensers at school should never be empty (this was a "you had to be there" moment)
2) I cant date until I'm 30 (oops!)
3) to this day no one (not even myself) can tie my shoes or get my jacket zipper unstuck like he did
4) lots of french songs!
5) how to eat a whole bad of popcorn and watch soap operas (when they'd babysit at their house, they'd pop me a whole bag of buttered popcorn, plop me in front of the TV and put on General Hospital)
6) what bowling was
7) that McDonald's is gross (that was a favorite fast meal to give me)
8) What the store Bradley's was
9) how to tan
10) and mostly just how to love unconditionally and be the best I can be

So you might have noticed that I"m referring to him in the past tense. That's because he had to leave us. And thats why I'm talking about him today. 

14 years ago today, God called for him and he had to leave us. He had tongue cancer. He and my grandmother both died of cancer. they both smoked. He was diagnosed but didnt tell anyone, even  his one children for about 6 months. He was a man of very little words. He kept his emotions inside and just "went with the flow" He didnt want anyone to worry. He had had a few major surgeries in the past. Once we all found out, it went downhill from there. I was 9 when he died. I knew something was wrong but it was hard to show as much emotion as I probably should have. I didnt know what cancer was. This thing was making my grandfather sick and I had no idea what it was. I remember one night on the way home from their house my dad said to me "you can ask anything if you want". I had nothing to say. He got sicker. Stopped smiling, hated taking pictures. He ended up in a wheelchair. I'll never forgot pushing him around in it. Although he couldnt communicate, there was still a connection. We could feel what he was thinking and he could feel us. 

And then the day came. The day he passed away. I was brought to my aunt and uncles the night before so my parents and other siblings could go see him and be there. My mo picked me up in the morning. We came home and waited. I'll never forget that day. We all knew it was happening. Around 1pm, my dad called. The news we had been dreading. The pillows that were laying on the couch were my "punching bags". I dont think I'd ever gotten that upset. The world was taking one of the most important things in my life away from me. 

You want to know what his final wish was? He wanted to die on his birthday. And guess what? It came true. Yes, thats right. Today is also his birthday. He'd be 86. While the wish may not be the greatest wish, it proves wishes come true. He was at peace with it. At midnight on that morning, my aunt, dad, mom and grandmother stood over his bed where he lay and sang happy birthday. .

today is a day that will always be with us. A day where the greatest man was lost. But a day to remember all of the wonderful memories with him. 


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